INDEX


THE WHERE
SAMPALOC MANILA, PHILIPPINES

NAME
RIA CLEMENTES





Sampaloc​ ​Manila​ ​is​ ​the​ ​town​ ​where​ ​I​ ​spent​ ​half​ ​of​ ​my​ ​childhood​ ​before​ ​moving​ ​to​ ​Southampton, New​ ​York.​ ​The​ ​stark​ ​difference​ ​between​ ​the​ ​two​ ​places​ ​plays​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​factor​ ​into​ ​who​ ​I​ ​am​ ​today. Sampaloc​ ​was​ ​a​ ​poor​ ​town,​ ​with​ ​overcrowded​ ​squatters​ ​surrounding​ ​the​ ​outskirts​ ​of​ ​the​ ​town with​ ​makeshift​ ​tin​ ​homes.​ ​Southampton​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,​ ​was​ ​entirely​ ​different​ ​with​ ​beach houses​ ​and​ ​mansions​ ​the​ ​size​ ​of​ ​shopping​ ​malls​ ​surrounding​ ​the​ ​locals’​ ​more​ ​quaint​ ​and​ ​simple homes.Even​ ​though​ ​I​ ​have​ ​yet​ ​to​ ​return​ ​and​ ​visit​ ​the​ ​Philippines,​ ​Sampaloc​ ​Manila​ ​is​ ​the​ ​town that​ ​has​ ​always​ ​had​ ​a​ ​special​ ​place​ ​in​ ​my​ ​heart.​ ​When​ ​I​ ​think​ ​of​ ​Sampaloc​ ​I​ ​think​ ​of​ ​a​ ​carefree life​ ​when​ ​I​ ​would​ ​run​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​house​ ​exactly​ ​after​ ​finishing​ ​meals​ ​just​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​play​ ​“langit lupa,”​ ​(which​ ​translates​ ​to​ ​heaven​ ​and​ ​earth)​ ​a​ ​Filipino​ ​iteration​ ​of​ ​the​ ​game​ ​of​ ​tag​ ​with​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the kids​ ​on​ ​the​ ​street.​ ​After​ ​hours​ ​of​ ​playing​ ​traditional​ ​Filipino​ ​games,​ ​everyone​ ​would​ ​go​ ​to​ ​a corner​ ​store​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​candies​ ​and​ ​snacks​ ​that​ ​cost​ ​a​ ​penny​ ​or​ ​soda​ ​which​ ​the​ ​vendors​ ​poured​ ​into plastic​ ​bags​ ​and​ ​stuck​ ​a​ ​straw​ ​in​ ​making​ ​them​ ​very​ ​inconvenient​ ​and​ ​forcing​ ​you​ ​to​ ​finish​ ​it​ ​all​ ​in one​ ​go.


But​ ​one​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​places​ ​in​ ​Sampaloc​ ​was​ ​the​ ​town​ ​church​ ​and​ ​the​ ​wet​ ​market​ ​surrounding it.​ ​Every​ ​Sunday,​ ​I​ ​looked​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​eating​ ​all​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​street​ ​foods​ ​and​ ​desserts​ ​like​ ​rice cakes​ ​and​ ​“barquillos”​ ​(a​ ​crispy​ ​rolled​ ​wafer)​ ​in​ ​the​ ​wet​ ​market​ ​right​ ​after​ ​church.​ ​The​ ​fondest memories​ ​come​ ​from​ ​shopping​ ​for​ ​groceries​ ​in​ ​the​ ​wet​ ​market​ ​with​ ​my​ ​dad​ ​who​ ​was​ ​the​ ​best​ ​at haggling​ ​with​ ​the​ ​local​ ​farmers​ ​and​ ​fishermen.​ ​The​ ​scent​ ​was​ ​so​ ​distinct​ ​of​ ​the​ ​fresh​ ​fishes​ ​that any​ ​other​ ​kid​ ​would​ ​avoid​ ​visiting​ ​the​ ​market​ ​at​ ​all​ ​cost.​ ​But​ ​I​ ​lived​ ​for​ ​its​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​hectic environment​ ​where​ ​the​ ​vendors​ ​would​ ​tease​ ​me​ ​that​ ​I​ ​looked​ ​just​ ​like​ ​my​ ​dad,​ ​even​ ​calling​ ​me names​ ​like​ ​“Linggay,”​ ​(my​ ​dad’s​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Linggoy).​ ​Thinking​ ​back​ ​at​ ​this​ ​time​ ​now,​ ​this​ ​is probably​ ​why​ ​I​ ​always​ ​love​ ​to​ ​shop​ ​for​ ​groceries​ ​in​ ​Chinatown.​ ​The​ ​loud​ ​noises​ ​of​ ​vendors trying​ ​to​ ​get​ ​you​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​their​ ​food​ ​and​ ​the​ ​distinct​ ​smell​ ​of​ ​fresh​ ​fish​ ​takes​ ​me​ ​right​ ​back​ ​to​ ​my childhood.